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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-19          165783


Can anyone recommend a good solar automotive type battery charger/maintainer that will work outdoors? One of those would probably be just the ticket for our chipper battery that sits months between uses.

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-20          165794


I should think that any brand would do. Or, if the chipper's a diesel, toss its battery out and start it by jumping.

I'd be more interested in experts' advice on fuel additives for stored gas and diesel engines. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-20          165800


Most of them are made for in-the-car use, where you stick it on the dash or visor and plug it into the 12V jack/lighter. Hard to find a dash, visor or 12V lighter on a chipper :) It's easy to take a solar cell and have it charge all the time, it's harder to make one that provides proper maintenance logic to prevent overcharge and plate desulphating logic. I want a solar powered battery minder.

Regarding fuel, I have never had a problem using Stabil for storage and Power-Service as an additive. I always add about 50% more Stabil than the bottle says and have used gasoline and diesel for up to 18 mos. afterwards without trouble, even when stored in plastic containers. No idea at what point it goes bad since it never has. I always filter the diesel through a water-filtering funnel when filling tanks and add the PS afterwards (the PS dissipates water which would allow it to pass through the funnel). ....

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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-21          165807


Yes, you'd toss the cig-lighter plug and hard-wire it to the terminals.

The little panels sold for domestic use put so little amperage into the battery (during sunlight) that there's little danger of overcharging. "Smart charger" circuitry would be better, but I haven't seen it on these units.

Thanks for the suggestion on fuel stabilization. ....

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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-21          165808


Quote:
Originally Posted by auerbach | view 165807
Yes, you'd toss the cig-lighter plug and hard-wire it to the terminals. The little panels sold for domestic use put so little amperage into the battery (during sunlight) that there's little danger of overcharging. "Smart charger" circuitry would be better, but I haven't seen it on these units.Thanks for the suggestion on fuel stabilization.


Thanks, maybe nobody makes a smart solar charger. Most of the small panels state that they aren't for outdoor use. I'm looking for something that can be rained on and frozen. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2009-09-21          165810


How much voltage do those solar electric fencer chargers generate?
There is a pretty good sized traffic warning sign going into a nearby town that is lighted at night by a solar panel sitting on top. It seems big enough to take a good amount of power.
I know less than nothing about these things, that's why I'm asking. Frank. ....

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-21          165818


Voltage doesn't matter as much as amperage; a static discharge to your hand could be 10,000 volts at a thousandth of an amp. Those traffic signs use low-wattage lights (e.g., LED) that need far fewer amps than pushing electrons around in a battery.

The new Prius car offers a fairly large roof entirely covered with solar cells. But all it runs is a fan to circulate the intereior air. ....

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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-09-21          165824


Ken, first off, when shopping for solar chargers, be sure to check that it has an internal charge controller. Without one it can easily over-charge the battery.

Secondly, don't worry too much about an 'outdoor' model. We use them a lot on aircraft and I know plenty of people who put 'indoor' solar chargers inside plastic storage containers to make them weather proof. The plastic doesn't stop the UV coming through.

IMHO though putting a solar charger on something like your chipper doesn't make much sense. Anything big enough to do much will be spendy. Removing the battery, or running "landscaping" wire (the stuff used for low voltage lighting) from a 120v. maintenance charger on a timer is a better solution.

Best of luck. ....

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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-21          165837


Yes, if you spend $300 on a solar array and leave it on the battery, it will overcharge. But for $30 you can buy a 180mA charger. Just google "solar battery chargers."

Most plug-in "trickle chargers" (considered safe for long connection periods) put out 1 amp. The 180mA charger is 18 percent of that -- in the sunshine. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-21          165843


I found a bunch of 1.8W chargers (1800 mA) but not any 180mA versions. Maybe I need to shop some more but given that it will generally be parked in the woods I wonder how much power they would really put out.

Murf, in the winter I pretty much park the chipper in the woods and chain it to a couple of big trees. It's a long way to the nearest outlet.

Edit: Whoops, don't know what I was thinking. 1.8W is ~150mA at a fixed 12V so maybe we're looking at the same type of units.
....

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-22          165846


BatteryStuff.com ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2009-09-22          165848


My camera battery went kaput, my son tried all over the internet, the only place he found one was overseas somewhere for like 40 bucks plus freight.
I checked the yellow pages, found a local place called Batteries Plus, the counter parson asked how many do you need? Cost less than ten bucks. I don't know if they are a chain or local only but they seemed to have every battery from a bulldozer on down and chargers to match. ....

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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-09-22          165852


Ken, a couple of points to consider.

First off, if you're not going to use the chipper for the winter you'd be better off just putting it inside and giving a charge every couple of weeks.

Secondly, bear in mind, solar chargers don't put out much juice to start with, putting it "in the woods" (mostly coniferous in your neck of the woods I'm guessing) for the winter might not result in much charging. Even if it's not snowing, it's likely cloudy and wet anyways.

Best of luck. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2009-09-22          165854


Here are three different units at good prices......... ....


Link:   Costco

 
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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-23          165876


Batteries Plus: Some 350 stores mostly in the US and Canada. Franchise cost around $200k.

Costco: Never knew the US stores had such a wider selection than ours. ....

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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-09-23          165877


Quote:
Originally Posted by auerbach | view 165876
Batteries Plus: Some 350 stores mostly in the US and Canada. Franchise cost around $200k.Costco: Never knew the US stores had such a wider selection than ours.


Well that is either on line only or they have bigger stores than the one here also. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2009-09-23          165881


The camera battery I spoke of is in a Nikon camera that I blew the biggest end of a grand for at a real camera store, not a Wally world type place where you don't expect any after the sale support. When I went to the store for a battery the kid said they didn't sell batteries for my three year old camera. Only one internet source for fourty some bucks plus freight. Really surprised me when the Batteries Plus store had them on the shelf for less than than bucks. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-23          165884


Funny thing about Batteries Plus. Most folks think they're a retail outlet but it seems they are more involved in batteries than you might realize.

Our company makes a low volume product that uses a custom lithium-ion battery pack with an on-board intelligent "gas gauge" chip that mates to a charge controller chip in the unit. The pack was badly designed by a battery manufacturer and the product is such low volume that they weren't interested in fixing the problems so they "fired" us as a customer. Which left us unable to ship this product for lack of batteries.

We had a lot of trouble finding a new supplier. For the heck of it one of the guys in manufacturing called the local Batteries Plus retail store. They ended up having some folks in Taiwan redesign the custom battery pack for us and after a bit of tweaking it is a much better pack than the original ever was. Who would have thought? ....

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-23          165885


Tell us more about your company? Sounds interesting. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-23          165886


Due to non-disclosure I can't give specifics but the company is a major player in the laser industry producing products used for medical, manufacturing, research, etc. The product mentioned is a laser energy/power measurement instrument and I write embedded firmware for these devices. ....

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-09-23          165891


That's fine, thanks. If you did tell more, I'm sure it would be way over my head. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-09-24          165897


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 165886
Due to non-disclosure I can't give specifics but the company is a major player in the laser industry producing products used for medical, manufacturing, research, etc. The product mentioned is a laser energy/power measurement instrument and I write embedded firmware for these devices.


So did you guys build the laser they used in the Austin Powers movie "Goldmember"? The one that nearly got Michael Caine? LOL

Sorry, couldn't resist........ ;)

Best of luck. ....

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Solar battery chargers for equipment

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-24          165899


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf | view 165897
So did you guys build the laser they used in the Austin Powers movie "Goldmember"? The one that nearly got Michael Caine? LOLSorry, couldn't resist........ ;)Best of luck.


Never saw that movie. We have divisions all over the world and make a lot of products but maybe we should bump up the R&D budget for weapons that seek out and destroy the bad guys. I'd like to write some of that code and have a few bad guys in mind :)
....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-09-24          165900


Ken, the "Austin Powers" movies are best described as "Get Smart" does "James Bond" movies.

Except they were co-written by a true comedic (IMHO) genius who also happens to not only star in the movies, but does multiple characters to boot!

A really good blend of intellectual humour, sight gags and spoofs.

Best of luck. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-09-24          165906


I just don't "get" Austin Powers. Saw the first one and couldn't wait for it to be over. Maybe I needed to have a beer or six first.
....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-09-24          165907


I suspect it's a combination of age and personal taste.

My gal feels the same way as you do about Austin Powers but she finds the 3 Stooges hilarious, I think they're funny, for the first few minutes, then it gets real old, real fast.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-09-24          165912


So Murf sitting across the line; do you find out current adminstration to be Austin Powers or the Federal Stooges? If only a bad movie. ;-( ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-09-25          165921


Quote:
Originally Posted by kthompson | view 165912
So Murf sitting across the line; do you find out current adminstration to be Austin Powers or the Federal Stooges? If only a bad movie. ;-(


Well, let me just put into this way, so as not to talk poorly in a public forum of my Commander-in-Chief, I'm glad I live north of the 49th parallel more & more every day. ;)

Best of luck. ....

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